News | February 03, 2015

Spanish Researchers Design Information Security Protocol for Wireless Pacemakers

Protocol would protect the information provided by medical devices connected to the Internet

University of the Basque Country, ICDs, pacemakers, Internet, security, remote

February 3, 2015 — In modern western societies the fitting of pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) is growing rapidly. Devices of this type control heart rhythm and, if necessary, send an appropriate response to make the heart beat at the right rhythm. They also record heart activity patterns when abnormal heart rhythm is detected. This information is periodically checked and monitored by a doctor to plan future treatment. To do this, the information is transmitted in wireless mode to an external device. At the moment this communication is carried out in hospitals. A researcher in the University of the Basque Country’s (UPV/EHU) Department of Communications Engineering has developed the Ladon security protocol, an efficient mechanism to authenticate, authorize and establish the end-to-end keys (keys for communication between the terminal used by the doctor and the patient's device) for ICDs.

The main manufacturers of pacemakers and ICDs have started to market remote management devices. The remote monitoring of implantable, wireless medical sensors is a constantly advancing field which nevertheless still has clear shortcomings. The direct connection of medical sensors to the Internet is the next natural step in this evolution, and will enable doctors to obtain the information stored by the sensors at any moment and from any device connected to the Internet. Despite its great potential, the success of a monitoring system of this type is determined, among other things, by the protection of the privacy of the information transmitted.

There are three key parameters in the development of new solutions for implantable medical sensors: energy consumption, memory space and latency. Energy efficiency is the most important design parameter for any protocol that has to work in these devices, since replacing the batteries used in them means opening up a wound in the patient's chest. As UPV/EHU researcher Jasone Astorga explained, it has been found that "the energy consumption of this Ladon protocol is negligible in comparison with the usual consumption of a pacemaker or ICD when applying its therapy (stimulating or defibrillating), and has no significant impact on how long the batteries last". On the other hand, they have found that the deployment of this security application in the sensors has led to very little memory consumption. And finally, the latency incorporated by the protocol in the setting up of a secure communication is also less. All this turns it into a protocol suited to deploying functionalities to authenticate and control access in the sensors and for the setting up of a secret key that can be used to protect the confidentiality and integrity of the medical information transmitted over the wireless network.

For more information: www.ehu.eus

Related Content

CHLA/USC Team Designs Novel Micropacemaker

Model of the human heart with microprocessor located in the pericardial sac and attached to the left ventricle. Graphic courtesy of Business Wire.

News | Pacemakers | June 29, 2018
Investigators at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and the University of Southern California (USC) have...
Permanent Pacing Effective for Older Patients With Syncope and Bifascicular Block
News | Pacemakers | May 24, 2018
Syncope with bifascicular block may be caused by intermittent complete heart block, but competing diagnoses may coexist...
Novel Mechanical Sensor in Medtronic Micra Transcatheter Pacing System Detects Atrial Contractions, Restores AV Synchrony
News | Pacemakers | May 24, 2018
New clinical study results demonstrate that an investigational algorithm, utilizing the accelerometer signal in the...
The Boston Scientific Essentio MRI-safe pacemaker.

The Boston Scientific Essentio MRI-safe pacemaker. It is common for pacemaker patients to need magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which has not previously been possible because the magnetic fields could damage older devices. All pacemaker vendors now have FDA-cleared MRI compatible pacemakers. 

Feature | Pacemakers | February 13, 2018 | Dave Fornell
There have been several advancements in pacemaker technologies over the past few years.
Mexican Doctors Safely Reuse Donated Pacemakers After Sterilization

Mexican government reports conclude more than half of the population does not have access to social security or private insurance that covers a pacemaker implant, and 44 percent live in poverty. Recycling donated, explanted pacemakers offers a new option for these patients.

News | Pacemakers | November 10, 2017
Mexican doctors have safely reused donated pacemakers after sterilization, shows a study presented at the 30th Mexican...
Pacemakers and Other Cardiac Devices Can Help Solve Forensic Cases
News | Pacemakers | June 20, 2017
Pacemakers and other cardiac devices can help solve forensic cases, according to a study presented at the European...
Videos | Pacemakers | May 23, 2017
Vivek Reddy, M.D., director of cardiac arrhythmia services and professor of medicine, cardiology, Mount Sinai Hospita
micra leadless pacemaker
Feature | Pacemakers | May 16, 2017
May 16, 2017 - The preliminary results for the Medtronic Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) Post-Approval Regist
Videos | Pacemakers | May 16, 2017
This video, provided by Medtronic, demonstrates the implantation of Micra transcatheter pacing system (TPS).
closed loop stimulation, DDD-CLS, ACC17, SPAIN trial
Feature | Pacemakers | March 22, 2017
March 22, 2017 — Patients with recurrent fainting episodes (syncope) who received a pacemaker delivering a pacing pro
Overlay Init